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A Promising Provincial Service.

11th May 1911, Page 14
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

Tunbridge Wells is Now Fully Equipped with a Modern Motorbus Fleet.

For many years the travelling facilities within the municipal boundaries of Tunbridge Wells have been of a very limited nature. This Kentish spa, which will be quite well known to many of our Tenders, is situated in the centre of s, hilly and picturesque district. 'Tramways have never been installed in the town, although interested efforts have been made, from time to time, to secure their adoption. The internal traffic is mot of a heavy nature, but very many wealthy residents are included in the surrounding population. There are probably few provincial districts where the private car is used to such an extent as it is in and around Tunbridge Wells, but, for some years, the only publicservice vehicles that were in use were archaic, horse-drawn buses, and these tackled the hilly main thoroughfares with extreme difficulty. They were not proverbial for punctuality, and their average rate of progress was almost negligible. Following these, an effort was made by certain local people to improve on the horse-drawn facilities by the inauguration of a single line of motor vehicles. The machines were of somewhat-obsolete type, and it cannot be recorded that their performances were regarded locally with approbation.

During the last twelve months the problem has been tackled in a much more masterly way, and it is largely due to the initiative and the enterprise ef Mr. W. Oscar Pritchard, the managing director of The Autocar, Tunbridge Wells, Co., Ltd., that at the present time Tunbridge

Wells is satisfactorily equipped with a comprehensive series of .services, all of which are maintained by vehicles of the latest type. Six routes at the present time are being served, and the cars are made to cover mileages that are considerably above the average for the class of machine.

We were interested to hear from the enthusiastic manager that, during the last twelve months, the fleet has not experienced a single involuntary stop on the road, and not one journey has been lost This is direct evidence, of course, of careful management and of efficient maintenance. At present the Tunbridge Wells fleet. consists of six 40-h.p., :32-seated Leylands, and of three 40-h p. double-deck A.B.C. motorbuses. We reproduce on this page a photograph of the interior of the new garage belonging to the company, and, on page 196, we include an illustration of the fleet of Leylands to which we have referred. The vehicles are all shod with " Continentals."

The new garage has an area of over 6,000 sq. ft., and, in addition to the running shed, there is a wellequipped machine shop wherein the majority of the spare parts that are required are manufactured. It will be noticed in the picture of the running shed that, in addition to the motorbuses, a delivery van is included. This vehicle maintains an express delivery service in the district in connection with the official agency to the South-Eastern and London Brighton and South Coast railways. The Autocar, Tunbridge Wells, Co., Ltd., which by the way

is a member of the C.M.U.A., undertakes all classes of motorengineering work, apart from that which specifically appertains to its own public services. It may perhaps be of interest to conclude this short notice with a list of the services which are at present being maintained in Tunbridge Wells. Three Leyland cars an hour ply in each direction between Tunbridge Wells and Southborough. Other routes are : to Pembury and Lower Green t to Rusthall (for the world-famous toad rock); to Langton and Speldhurst ; to Matfield and Brenchley ; and to Hawkenbury and the Cemetery. The fact that a town of the proportions of Tunbridge Wells is now successfully being supplied with public-service travelling facilities of a most up to-date nature should be a sufficient answer to those who are constantly urging the further extension of tramway facilities in provincial districts. Tunbridge Wells now has a fleet of first-class, up-to-date machines well maintained and thoroughly reliable. It has none of the objectionable features of the ordinary tramway installation, and in addition we are glad to hear that the proprietors of the services are quite satisfied with their returns. Every congratulation is due to Mr. W. Oscar Pritchard, who is the head and front of the whole undertaking. We were enabled to assist this company, in April of last year, by getting the Town Clerk and Corporation to accept a Scotland-yard driving certificate, in place of an M.U. permit, from its employees.


Locations: Southborough

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